Electoral law provides that a ballot paper at an election is invalid for a number of reasons: if it does not bear the official mark; does not clearly indicate a first preference for some candidate; indicates a first preference for more than one candidate; has no mark placed in it; or has anything written or marked on it, which in the opinion of the local returning officer is calculated to identify the elector.
My Department recently completed a public consultation on a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) that was prepared in relation to the establishment of an electoral commission. One of the proposed functions of the commission as set out in the RIA could be to develop programmes and implement ways to enhance voter education and engagement. Such programmes could assist the public in having a better understanding of the voting system.
The submissions received in the course of the consultation are being considered in my Department and the content used to inform a preferred option for establishing a commission, which will be brought to Government for consideration. Once a preferred option is agreed, work would then commence on the preparation of the necessary legislation to establish an electoral commission.